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'Enormous demand' expected for immunizations: Hinshaw​​​​​​​

“This is a massive expansion for our province and a big step forward. If you're 74 and turning 75 this year, you are eligible for the vaccine." 
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The signup for immunizations for those who were born in 1946 or earlier starts on Wednesday morning and Alberta’s top doctor expects a rush of people registering for doses.

“We expect there will be enormous demand for immunizations,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

“This is a massive expansion for our province and a big step forward. If you're 74 and turning 75 this year, you are eligible for the vaccine." 

More than 230,000 seniors will become eligible to sign up a part of the rollout, along with everyone else who was eligible from Phase 1A.

People who live outside of long-term care centres can start booking their appointments at 8 a.m. on Wednesday through the online AHS booking tool or by calling Health Link at 811.

Hinshaw encouraged friends and family of those eligible for the shots to help them in any way they can, including helping them sign up for appointments and helping to provide transit to the appointment. If seniors cannot find transportation to get the shot, they can call 211 for help.

"For many folks, I know it will feel like you have been waiting a very long time for the vaccine, and you are keen to get a first dose as soon as possible," Hinshaw said.

"All Alberta seniors who want vaccines will be able to get their first dose before the end of March. It may just take a little time to get your appointment, as availability depends on the timing of the supply we receive in the province."

Appointments will be made all seven days of the week, between 8;20 a.m. and 3:40 p.m. at 58 sites across the province. When the province receives more doses, it will expand the appointment times.

Hinshaw has asked for patience from Albertans during this rollout and said they have increased staffing for the Health Link to ensure any senior who wants an appointment can get an appointment as quickly as possible.

Right now, vaccinations are only going out to 58 sites across the province, but Hinshaw said there are plans to include pharmacies in the roll-out in the future.

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Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Great West Newspapers based in St. Albert, Alta.
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